Beanery Online Literary Magazine

August 6, 2008

DRESSING FOR BLESSING: God and Fashion Part 1

BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE
DRESSING FOR BLESSING: GOD AND FASHION   Part 1
—by Kathleen Clark

Sunday dressing. Wearing our best! When and why did it all begin? It’s a practice derived from the long held belief that giving and getting God’s best extends to how we look, especially on the most sacred day of the week.

Actually the specific day isn’t so important, because people worship on different days, but looking good for the service is. A broad spectrum of the Christian community; Protestant and Catholic alike, adhere to principles of “wearing our best.” Thus, conforming or not conforming to a particular set of accepted dress rules is sure fire way to make a statement!

A variety of religious sects are defined by their daily and Sunday attire. Some independent, break-away communities adhere to dress standards of the early 19th century, the women wearing outfits reminiscent of colonial pioneers. The ankle-length, prairie-style dresses in a variety of pastel colors are generally cut from an approved pattern; flowers, plaids and designs are not permitted. The garment must have wrist-length sleeves and a high neckline.

Persons belonging to certain orders and cloistered communities wear darker or earth-tone shades; gray, black, brown, beige and navy are commonly accepted colors. Many religious wear scarves, veils and hoods which completely cover the head and, in some sects, women must keep their hair bound tightly in buns or braids. Likewise, makeup and adornments are forbidden or frowned upon.

Obviously, uniforms affect one’s overall disposition, demeanor and psyche. Dress restrictions keep members under the surveillance of prominent leaders and clergy. Anything out of the ordinary (color, pattern, length) immediately alerts the dress monitors. Breaking away from expected or accepted dress standards involves risk and rebels face excommunication, shunning or threats, should they stray or choose to voluntarily leave their community. The practicing family or community members are advised to cease
association with those now considered “outside.” Shedding outer apparel can definitely bring on long-term repercussions!

Does outerwear really affect our vital inner, spiritual mindset?

Clearly select religious communities avidly cling to this image. Uniform outward appearance is equated to uniformity of ideas or acceptable thought patterns. Dogmatic teachings and religious leaders shape our understanding of morality and immorality, then ripple outward to family, friends, co-workers and society. We’ve been taught that vivid colors (red, pink, purple, fluorescents), plunging necklines and dress lengths (above the knee) are equated with flamboyancy and looseness. Conservative dressing; somber colors, high necklines, long sleeves and hemlines denote propriety and control.

FASHION CHANGES: DO WE?
Conservative and liberal concepts extend to what we say, do and think: the overall package. In short, nothing shy of getting to know someone personally can define his or her true spirituality. How superficial or deep is our personal spiritual experience? We might consider someone’s mode of dress unusual, but are we spiritually grounded enough to not become offended? Outward appearance should not lessen personal convictions.

Consider the 40’s and 50’s, when fashion trends brought knee-length skirts, jackets, dresses, hats sporting feathers, beads, flowers. Gloves with matching shoes and accessories were the norm. It’s been a long held concept both genders are expected to wear their best when crossing the church threshold. Men’s styles generally lag behind women’s. They wear single or double-breasted suits, vests, ties and leather shoes. The once debonair hat-tipping male, typical through the 50’s, gave way to a “hats off” generation.

Eventually, restrictions were slackened and men started wearing casual attire; slacks, suit jackets, colored instead of white shirts, patterned ties or no ties and canvas or tennis shoes.

Fashion changes dictate what each generation and age group terms respectable and proper. Older adults often disapprove of the casual attire or unconventional styles of youth. Shock value speaks of individuality. The fifties brought the subtle acceptance of the pant-wearing woman, a la Lucy Ricardo and later, in the eighties, Mary Tyler Moore. By the sixties hemlines were on the rise again, and mini skirts grazed thighs of the flower power generation. As expected, the seventies and eighties saw hemlines inching up and down. Criteria for modesty rose and fell in tandem with current trends, just as the length of a woman’s hair is viewed relative to Biblical interpretation. As many dress code interpretations exist as there are denominations! Acceptability is defined by each congregation.

To read Part 2 of DRESSING FOR BLESSING: Getting Personal, click on  DRESSING FOR BLESSING: GOD AND FASHION Part 2.

Additional Reading:

PROCOPE CAFÉ, PARIS: Part 1—Finding photographs: An International Adventure

TO MATTIE

IMAGINATIVE, ORIGINAL, PURE, PROFOUND POEMS by CHILDREN

SEVENTY YEARS OF LOVE

SHOULD INFORMATION ON AN ALLEGED CHILD ABUSER BE PUBLICIZED?

PEOPLE: TIZIANIA BARONIO

THE HOLOCAUST STORY OF A TEENAGE VICTIM (Part 6)

YARD SALES UNSETTLE ME

PERTAINING TO THE SPIRIT

JOURNALIST ETHICS CONCERNING THE RECEIPT OF GIFTS

DAVID Part 1 of a 10 Part Romance Story

IF I COULD CRY

LOVER BUBBLE

LOSS AND LOVE

THE RING

REACH OUT

THE TIME IS NOW…

LOGGING IN MAINE AND ON THE PERU-BRAZILLIAN BORDER

A PASTOR’S ROLE IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Part 2

FROM THE BASTILLE TO CINDERELLA

OF FIREFLIES AND LIGHTNING BUGS

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3 Comments »

  1. Sinners are saved solely by the Jesus Christ alone.. but life is also working out your own salvation and much more through Jesus Christ

    (Eccl 12:1 KJV) Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;
    2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:
    3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,
    4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low;
    5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:
    6 Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.
    7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
    8 Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

    (Eccl 12:13 KJV) Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

    (Eccl 12:14 KJV) For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

    http://groups.msn.com/AFOLLOWEROFCHRIST

    Comment by thenonconformer — August 6, 2008 @ 8:32 am | Reply

  2. […] DRESSING FOR BLESSING: God and Fashion Part 1 […]

    Pingback by A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 15 « Carolyncholland’s Weblog — March 5, 2010 @ 2:55 am | Reply

  3. […] DRESSING FOR BLESSING: GOD AND FASHION Part 1 […]

    Pingback by Spring Resurrection. Easter Resurrection. | CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS — April 20, 2014 @ 3:01 am | Reply


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